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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 45 New Delhi October 29, 2016

Competitive Communalism

Sunday 30 October 2016


Several striking developments of the last few days have hogged the headlines.

These include the removal of Cyrus Mistry from the chairmanship of the Tata Group and the ongoing war in the Parivar of the ruling Samajwadi Party in UP. Mistry says his ouster from the top office of the Tatas was “unparalleled in the annals of corporate history” and manifests the “total lack of corporate governance and a failure of the Directors to discharge there feduciary duty to stockholders of Tata Sons and the group companies”. As for the infighting within the SP, there is no end to it in sight despite party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s assertion that all was well in the SP family and party organisation.

Meanwhile, both Hindu and Muslim communalism are feeding each other and feeding on each other. If the Hindutvavadis are having a field day today, backed by the indirect—and sometimes direct— patronage of the powers that be, communalism of the minority community is also growing.

There is no denying the fact that Muslim terrorist organisations, and most notably the Islamic State, have acquired many adherents in this country. Every belligerent saying or action of the Hindutvavadis helps to add to the number of their adhe-rents—and vice versa. On the one hand the very name of Pakistan and everything associated with that country—from cricketers to film stars or music maestros—have become an anthema for the new breed of instant patriots and nationalists. Indian film-makers can afford to engage Pakistani artistes only if they are ready to be dubbed and damned as traitors, or if they are prepared to pay a heavy ransom of some ‘funds’ to be designated by those who claim a sole monopoly over patriotism and nationalism.

There are about eighteen crore Muslims in India. Hindus and Muslims must learn to live and work together or they will have to part company again. In other words, there will be a repetition of 1947.

While there is no doubt that communalism of the majority community is more dangerous and harmful than that of the minority communities, the danger posed by the latter cannot be ignored or underplayed either. What is most regrettable is that in India today there are party leaders but not a single national leader who commands the universal respect of the people—cutting across party or community lines—one who is not craving for political power for herself/himself or acquiring assets through dishonest means.

If no such leader is to be found now, the responsibility devolves on the enlightened citizens who have not lost their sanity and sense of perspective and direction. They will have to come forward, even risking their lives, to fight the monster of communalism, irrespective of its colour and often enjoying the patronage of either the state or of private organisations flush with funds and driven by their own disruptive ideology and agenda. If the present drift is allowed to continue, the country is likely to suffer another disaster.

October 27                      B.D.G.

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